There’s so much to be thankful for in a history filled with tireless advocates. One of such great men was Horace Julian Bond, a complete one-off as far as social activism, civil rights and politics are concerned.

Julian Bond was far from a conventional professor, writer or poet. He was a maverick and a leading light in the fight for justice, equality, and fairness.

The social activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement was born in Nashville, Tennessee and came from a family of academics. Horace Mann Bond, father to Julian Bond, was president of Lincoln University, a historically black university in Pennsylvania while his mother, Julian Agnes was a librarian at Clark Atlanta University. 

Civil Rights Legacy 

While attending Morehouse, Julian Bond helped co-found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and served as the communication director from January 1961 to September 1966. That is where he developed his chops as a civil rights organizer, as he traveled around Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas organizing voter registration drives. 

In 1965, Bond became one of eleven black politicians elected to the Georgia House of Representatives after passage of the Civil Rights act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 allowed for black voter registration. 

julian bond, julian bond quotes
AUSTIN, APRIL 9–Lonnie G. Bunch, III, Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Julian Bond, Former Chairman of the NAACP, John Lewis, US Representative from Georgia, and Andrew Young, Former Congressman and United States Ambassador discuss a panel on the “Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement: Views from the Front Line” at the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library. Photo by Lauren Gerson.

In 1971, Bond became the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. After retiring from politics, he went on to teach at various universities including Harvard. 

While this article is not a detailed biography of Julian Bonds, it contains timeless words from the wise man that resonate in past, present and future.

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On Social Justice, Civil Rights, and Education

“Violence is black children going to school for 12 years and receiving 6 years’ worth of education.”

“As skills and energy became more of a demand, people who didn’t have skills just got left behind, got shuttled to the side. Education didn’t keep up to their promise. Education didn’t prepare them for this new world. Jobs went overseas.”

“I do think that some of us began to realize that this was going to be a long struggle that was going to go on for decades, and you’d have to knuckle down. A lot of people in our generation did that. They didn’t drop out and run away.”

“As legal slavery passed, we entered into a permanent period of unemployment and underemployment from which we have yet to emerge.”

“The humanity of all Americans is diminished when any group is denied rights granted to others.”

julian bond, julian bond quotes
Julian Bond of Georgia, 26, watches as people stream into the St. Mark’s Church-on-the-Bouwerie to hear him speak in New York, Feb. 10, 1966. His speech came at the end of a peace rally and march which began in midtown. Bond was ousted from Georgia’s legislature because of his opposition to the Viet Nam war. He asserted in his speech that his plight has wedded civil rights and anti-Viet Nam War supporters. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)

“Anytime someone carries a picket sign in front of the White House, that is the First Amendment in action.”

“Many are attracted to social service – the rewards are immediate, the gratification quick. But if we have social justice, we won’t need social service.”

“The civil rights movement didn’t begin in Montgomery and it didn’t end in the 1960s. It continues on to this very minute.”

“Good things don’t come to those who wait. They come to those who agitate!”

“Most of those who made the movement were not famous, they were the faceless. They were the nameless, the marchers with tired feet, the protesters beat back with fire hoses and billy clubs, and the unknown women and men who risked job and home and life.”

“I think our greatest triumph was that we existed at all…”

“Martin Luther King belonged to another transcendent generation. A generation born into segregation; a generation freed from racism’s restraints by their own efforts; a generation equally determined to see their way as free women and men.”

“There’s this big debate that goes on in America about what rights are: Civil rights, human rights, what they are? it’s an artificial debate. Because everybody has rights. Everybody has rights – I don’t care who you are, what you do, where you come from, how you were born, what your race or creed or color is. You have rights. Everybody’s got rights”

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Roman Debotch is a filmmaker, photographer, and co-founder of blackexcellence.com. Through the platform that is Black Excellence, she has been able to marry her passion for story telling with her passion for issues affecting the black community. Roman earned her B.A. in Film and TV Studies and ventured into the world of video production after college. She produced music, corporate, and event videos for years before co-founding BlackExcellence.com. Since then, she has been working as a contributor to the platform as well as continuing her video production business. The very limited time Roman is away from either writing or shooting a video, she can be found hiking or enjoying one of Southern California's beautiful beaches.

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